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Introduction to Docker


What is Docker?

Wikipedia defines Docker as

an open-source project that automates the deployment of software applications inside containers by providing an additional layer of abstraction and automation of OS-level virtualization on Linux.

Wow! That's a mouthful. In simpler words, Docker is a tool that allows developers, sys-admins etc. to easily deploy their applications in a sandbox (called containers) to run on the host operating system i.e. Linux. The key benefit of Docker is that it allows users to package an application with all of its dependencies into a standardized unit for software development. Unlike virtual machines, containers do not have high overhead and hence enable more efficient usage of the underlying system and resources.

What are containers?

The industry standard today is to use Virtual Machines (VMs) to run software applications. VMs run applications inside a guest Operating System, which runs on virtual hardware powered by the server’s host OS.

VMs are great at providing full process isolation for applications: there are very few ways a problem in the host operating system can affect the software running in the guest operating system, and vice-versa. But this isolation comes at great cost — the computational overhead spent virtualizing hardware for a guest OS to use is substantial.

Containers take a different approach: by leveraging the low-level mechanics of the host operating system, containers provide most of the isolation of virtual machines at a fraction of the computing power.

Why use containers?

Containers offer a logical packaging mechanism in which applications can be abstracted from the environment in which they actually run. This decoupling allows container-based applications to be deployed easily and consistently, regardless of whether the target environment is a private data center, the public cloud, or even a developer’s personal laptop. This gives developers the ability to create predictable environments that are isolated from the rest of the applications and can be run anywhere.

From an operations standpoint, apart from portability containers also give more granular control over resources giving your infrastructure improved efficiency which can result in better utilization of your compute resources.

Due to these benefits, containers (& Docker) have seen widespread adoption. Companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix and Salesforce leverage containers to make large engineering teams more productive and to improve utilization of compute resources. In fact, Google credited containers for eliminating the need for an entire data center.

What will this tutorial teach me?

This tutorial aims to be the one-stop shop for getting your hands dirty with Docker. Apart from demystifying the Docker landscape, it'll give you hands-on experience with building and deploying your own webapps on the Cloud. We'll be using Amazon Web Services to deploy a static website, and two dynamic webapps on EC2 using Elastic Beanstalk and Elastic Container Service. Even if you have no prior experience with deployments, this tutorial should be all you need to get started.

Getting Started

This document contains a series of several sections, each of which explains a particular aspect of Docker. In each section, we will be typing commands (or writing code). All the code used in the tutorial is available in the Github repo.

Note: This tutorial uses latest version of Docker. If you find any part of the tutorial incompatible with a future version, please raise an issue. Thanks!


There are no specific skills needed for this tutorial beyond a basic comfort with the command line and using a text editor. This tutorial uses git clone to clone the repository locally. If you don't have Git installed on your system, either install it or remember to manually download the zip files from Github. Prior experience in developing web applications will be helpful but is not required. As we proceed further along the tutorial, we'll make use of a few cloud services. If you're interested in following along, please create an account on each of these websites:

Setting up your computer

Getting all the tooling setup on your computer can be a daunting task, but thankfully as Docker has become stable, getting Docker up and running on your favorite OS has become very easy.

Until a few releases ago, running Docker on OSX and Windows was quite a hassle. Lately however, Docker has invested significantly into improving the on-boarding experience for its users on these OSes, thus running Docker now is a cakewalk. The getting started guide on Docker has detailed instructions for setting up Docker on Mac, Linux and Windows.

Once you are done installing Docker, test your Docker installation by running the following:

$ docker run hello-world

Hello from Docker.
This message shows that your installation appears to be working correctly.

The DevOps seminar will help you to learn DevOps from scracth to deep knowledge of various DevOps tools such as fallowing List.

Linux, Git, Jenkins, Maven, Apache Tomcat, Nexus, Ansible, Chef, Docker, Nagios,   Kubernetes.